Usually movies like Tyler Perry’s “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” are right up my alley. You don’t see a Tyler Perry film because you’re under any illusions it will be good. At their best, Perry movies excel at hitting the sweet spot of terrible, the kind of bad movie you can’t wait to pick apart with your friends afterward. Why else did I go see “Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2″ in theaters? I was under no illusions I was seeing a good film. I wanted a glorious waste, and boy, did I get my money’s worth. Michael Sheen’s evil laugh was worth the price of admission alone.
Like Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room,” Perry’s films aren’t so much made as they are loosely cobbled together, and it’s fun to point out the seams in his craftsmanship. The sound design is terrible, the acting is all over the place and the film takes place in about seven different genres simultaneously. “Temptation” can’t decide if it wants to be a melodrama, high camp, a morality play, a broad comedy, a Lifetime movie or a potboiler, so it makes the proceedings into a $5.99 buffet — a little bit of this, a lot of that, doused with camp and unintentional humor. Douglas Sirk would have loved Tyler Perry.
However, despite my best efforts to find the film funny, there’s something immensely troubling about the morality slopped in with Perry’s genre stew. The film is about a Christian woman’s destructive sexual awakening and an affair that leads her away from her marriage. “Temptation” initially feels like a rebuttal to readers of Kate Chopin (or, heaven forbid, E.L. James) showing how passion can destroy the stability we take for granted. The main character is the therapist for a “Millionaire Matchmaker”-type who has her wandering eye on a billionaire client. He looks like a male model, is named Harley and drives a red sportscar. He espouses the belief that humans should have sex like animals.